A Coconut Oil Miracle

A Message From Dr. Bruce Fife

Director of the Coconut Research Center

Bruce Fife

Bruce Fife

  • 1.27 billion children live in poverty — deprived of food, safe drinking water, health care or shelter.

  • Six-hundred million children younger than 18 lack access to one of these basic needs; more than 350 million are deprived of two or more of these needs.

Could you imagine being unemployed, homeless, and forced to beg in the streets for food? Not a pleasant thought is it? But this is the life many people face throughout the world. Millions of poverty stricken children and their families go to bed hungry each night not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Often, it is found in the refuge discarded by others as unfit to eat. Half naked children as young as 3 and 4 years of age roam the streets begging for food. If you live in an affluent country like the US, sights like this are rare, but in Third World counties they are common.

The plight of these people was made clearly evident to me when I made my first trip to Asia. My heart went out to the many underweight and malnourished children begging for food. No one should be forced to live like this, I thought. I wanted to help, but how? How could one person help so many in need? By myself I could do little. This was a global issue. The solution would require a global effort—a task far beyond my limited capability. I felt helpless.

Although I didn’t realize it at first, the answer to the problem, or at least a partial answer, was staring me right in the face. The solution? It was simple—coconut. Yes, coconut was the answer. The reason I had come to Asia was to teach the people about the nutritional and medicinal benefits of coconut. This is an abundant and renewable, natural resource that has been vastly underdeveloped.

My Discovery

Without realizing it, I had been working on the answer for some time. Like most everyone else, I used to believe that coconut, especially coconut oil, was unhealthy because it was high in saturated fat. But then I had an experience that changed the way I think about fats and oils and particularly about coconut oil. Some years ago a colleague of mine, a nutritionist, told me that coconut oil was one of the good fats, that it did not cause heart disease, and that it had many health benefits. At first I was shocked. This went against everything I had ever read in the newspaper and in the popular diet books. But this nutritionist showed me some studies in the medical literature that indicated that coconut oil had many important nutritional and medical uses. Coconut oil, in one form or another, was used in hospital IV solutions, it was added to infant formula, and used in anti-candida medications. I became curious. If coconut oil had so many nutritional and medical uses why is it considered a dietary nightmare? If it did cause heart disease why is it used in hospital IV solutions and given to newborn babies. It just didn’t make sense. I had to find the answer.

Since everyone seemed to know that coconut oil caused heart disease I was certain that there must be many magazine articles written on the subject. Many of which would outline the dangers of using coconut oil and cite references to studies backing up these facts. So I went on a search to find some of these articles. I went on the Internet and to the library and looked for everything I could on coconut oil. Do you know what I found? I found absolutely nothing! It seemed that at that time there no articles written specifically on coconut oil. Now I did find many articles on nutrition and dietary oils, and most of them did contain one sentence about coconut oil and that sentence was exactly alike in all of them. It was, “Coconut oil is a saturated fat and causes heart disease.” I ran across that statement over and over again. I still see that very same statement repeated now. It was like there was a royal decree that went out throughout the land dictating that if anyone wrote anything about nutrition they must include this statement on coconut oil—it’s the politically correct thing to do.

Even though I ran across this statement time and time again, not once did any of these authors ever back up that statement with any facts, any figures, or any citations to the medical literature. There weren’t even any anecdotal accounts. When I started this search I fully expected to read stories where people had used coconut oil since they were little children and by the time they were 30 years old they had raging heart disease. But there wasn’t anything like that. It became obvious to me that these doctors and nutritionists who were writing these things knew absolutely nothing about coconut oil. All they were doing was repeating what someone else had said, who in turn was just repeating what someone else said before them, and on and on. None of them bothered to do their own research but just blindly accepted what others were saying.

It became apparent to me that if I was going to learn the truth about coconut oil, I wasn’t going to find it in health books and magazine articles because none of these authors knew anything about it. If I was going to learn the truth about coconut oil I was going to have to go to the medical studies and see what researchers were actually discovering. That’s what I did. In my search through the medical literature I found hundreds of research articles on coconut. And what I found shocked me. I discovered why coconut oil, in one form or another, was used in hospital IV solutions, why it was added to infant formula, and used in anti-candida medications. I also learned it was recommended for those with digestive concerns, such as premature infants and cystic fibrosis patients, and that it could help prevent a wide variety of health problems ranging from cancer and diabetes to influenza and AIDS. I was amazed! I also learned that there was absolutely no truth whatsoever in the belief that coconut oil causes or even contributes to heart disease. I failed to find even a single study that proved that coconut oil consumption caused heart disease. No such study exists. In fact, what I learned was that coconut oil can help prevent heart disease!

I learned that coconut oil has had a long history of use throughout the world as both a food and as a medicine. People in coconut growing regions of the world have been using it for hundreds of years without suffering from heart disease. In fact, those people who use the most coconut oil have the lowest heart disease rates in the world. For example, up until a few years ago the people of Sri Lanka used coconut oil in all their cooking. Each person consumed about 120 coconuts a year. Despite this high rate of consumption they had the lowest heart disease death rate in the world—1 out of every 100,000. Compare that to Americans who eat essentially no coconut oil yet nearly 1 out of every 2 deaths is heart related.

The Economic Impact of the Anti-Coconut Campaign

The truth of the matter is that if you want to protect yourself from heart disease, you should be using coconut oil. What an incredible discovery! So why had we been told that coconut oil causes heart disease? The answer is a combination of misconception, ignorance, and greed.

Since the 1950s it was observed that some saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol. Since cholesterol levels were considered a risk factor for heart disease doctors were recommending that we reduce our saturated fat intake. The vegetable oil industry promoted this idea very aggressively in order to influence people to use vegetable oil in place of saturated fats. Since the tropical oils (coconut and palm) were highly saturated they were viewed as being unhealthy and even causing heart disease, even though no study had ever shown it.

Up until the mid-1980s coconut oil was commonly used in many foods. The anti-saturated fat campaigns sponsored by the soybean industry and misguided special interest groups succeeded in frightening the public away from using coconut oil and food manufacturers and restaurants eventually replaced it with hydrogenated soybean oil. By 1990 coconut had virtually disappeared from American and European diets. Even in coconut growing regions of the world, such as Malaysia and the Philippines, coconut oil was viewed as an artery-clogging fat and largely avoided. As a consequence, demand for coconut products plummeted and the coconut industry fell into a deep depression that lasted for two decades. Coconut farmers unable to sell their products stopped harvesting. Literally millions of farmers, pickers, consolidators, truckers, and processors were no longer able to earn a living. Many took on other jobs, if they could find them. Others continued working in the coconut industry because other jobs were unavailable. They barely eked out a living year by year on a pauper’s wage. Many out of work and underemployed parents could not properly feed and clothe their children. They turned to begging in the streets.

The connection between heart disease and coconut oil that frightened so many people never existed. What most people didn’t understand at the time was that there are many different types of saturated fat and that the fat in coconut oil is completely different from that found in animal fats. This difference is important because it’s what makes coconut oil unique and gives it its remarkable healing properties.

As I learned about the healing potential of coconut oil I began using it myself and recommend to others. I’ve saw it clear up hemorrhoids, stop bladder infections, remove precancerous skin lesions, reverse the effects of hypothyroidism and diabetes, and help people lose excess weight, among other things. There seemed to be no end to the miracles it could do.

The Coconut Oil Miracle

After learning all of this, I realized that few people outside of the research community knew about the healing miracles of coconut oil. I felt an obligation to share this knowledge with others. So I wrote the book The Coconut Oil Miracle. Most all the information in this book comes directly from the medical literature and my own experience. Everything is backed by medical studies, many of which are cited in the book. I purposely wrote it in easy-to-understand language so that the laymen could understand.

When I finished the manuscript I gave it to a prominent lipid researcher and asked him to review it for accuracy and content. He praised the book but said, “Don’t publish it.”

I was shocked. “Why? It’s accurate isn’t it?”

“Yes,” he replied, “but nobody will read it. If you publish this book you’ll just be wasting your time and money.”

He spoke from experience. He had known about the benefits of coconut oil for years, whenever he spoke favorably about coconut oil he was either ignored or ridiculed. He learned to keep silent.

He was trying to protect me from criticism as well as wasting my money in financing the publication of the book. Despite his warning, I felt a need to get this information out to the public. The health benefits of coconut were so remarkable that I couldn’t keep this knowledge locked away in research journals, inaccessible to the average person. I decided that even if the book didn’t sell, at least I could say I tried. Because coconut oil offered so many health benefits I felt confident that if the facts were presented in a logical, easy-to-read format, backed by decades of medical research, the book would find a receptive audience, even if only a small one.

Because the book went against the prevailing opinion about fats, I knew from the start that I would face criticism and ridicule. That didn’t stop me. As I think back on it now, it was a bold and crazy move on my part. Why would anyone knowingly publish a book that would generate scorn? I just felt a need to share this knowledge despite the risks.

I didn’t bother to send the manuscript to an established publisher because I knew none of them would dare touch it—too risky for them. Finding money to publish the book myself was another problem. It would require several thousand dollars. Money I just didn’t have at the time. So I began to save. I tightened our family’s budget. We ate more economically and cut corners, reducing expenses to a bare minimum.

At first, sales were slow. The title scared people away. Stores didn’t want to stock it. Few could accept the idea that coconut oil was healthy. People thought I was crazy. A few people laughed at me thinking the book was a joke. Some were even angered that I would publish such a book and criticized me. Articles in newspapers and health newsletters reemphasized the politically correct, but inaccurate, perception of coconut oil and raked me across the coals with false accusations in an attempt to ruin my credibility.

My saving grace was that if I could get someone to just read the book and see the evidence for themselves, they generally become converted. I let the facts speak for themselves. This was clearly demonstrated to me by an incident that occurred soon after the book was published. I gave a copy to one of my neighbors. Cautiously he took the book and with skepticism promised to read it. He became an immediate convert. He was so enthusiastic about the potential of coconut oil that he began telling others about it. He went to his nutritionist and showed her the book. When she saw it she scoffed, “That’s just somebody’s opinion. Coconut oil is no good,” she said. She refused to even look at it.

He begged her to read the book and give it a fair trial. Hesitantly she consented. He placed the book on her desk and left. The following week he returned to her office and found the book positioned exactly were he had left it. Obviously she had not even touched the book. Again he insisted that she read it. Again she objected, but eventually gave in. Before leaving he made her promise that she would read it by the time he returned. To keep him off her back she reluctantly agreed.

When she started to read the book she was immediately impressed by the logical and approach and the abundance of medical references that backed up each statement. She devoured the book in two days. She wanted to know more. She contacted me and we had many discussions about fats and oils. I opened her eyes. She changed her approach to nutritional counseling and began recommending the book to all of her patients. That’s what happens when people read the book. They become excited and tell others. Those who criticize me or the book do so because they haven’t read it. They are too closed-minded.

At first I found it impossible to get any media coverage or book reviews. No one in the media would touch it. The book began selling by word of mouth and interest slowly grew. People began using the oil and experiencing changes. Many people with chronic health problems found relief. Personal testimonials encouraged others to read the book. As interest grew I was able to get more notice in newspapers and magazines. Several excellent articles appeared in national magazines. Demand for good quality coconut oil was rapidly increasing. Because people wanted the oil for health reasons they were going to health food stores to look for it. When the book was first published coconut oil was almost impossible to find anywhere. Very few stores carried it and when they did, it was always in the cosmetic section and sold as a body oil. Today nearly every heath food store in North American and many pharmacies stock food grade coconut oil. Some carry as many as 5 or 6 different brands. Coconut oil has now come out of the closet and is staking it’s rightful claim as “the healthiest oil on earth.”

Lives Are Being Changed

As a result of the increased demand for coconut products, the coconut industry is experiencing a resurrection. Coconut farmers are finding new markets for their products, laborers are finding much needed jobs collecting and harvesting. Coconut processing plants that had remained silent or underutilized for two decades are now gearing up. People are finding employment. Children who were forced to beg in the streets are now being fed and clothed and receiving medical attention. These people are finding hope.

Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap acknowledges the efforts of author Bruce Fife (with wife Leslie) in dispelling decades of misinformation about coconut and helping revive the coconut industry in the Philippines, which provides for the livelihoods of over 20 million people in that country. Dr. Fife presented president Macapagal-Arroyo with a copy of his new book Coconut Cures.

Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap acknowledges the efforts of author Bruce Fife (with wife Leslie) in dispelling decades of misinformation about coconut and helping revive the coconut industry in the Philippines, which provides for the livelihoods of over 20 million people in that country. Dr. Fife presented president Macapagal-Arroyo with a copy of his new book Coconut Cures.

When I first published The Coconut Oil Miracle, my main purpose was to tell everyone about the health benefits they could enjoy by using the oil. After the book started to sell I was only partially aware that it helped to fuel the economic resurgence of the coconut industry in many Third World countries. When I was invited by the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry to come to Manila and lecture on the health benefits of coconut, I saw first-hand the remarkable impact my book had on the economy and the coconut industry. Many people came up to me to shake my hand and express gratitude saying, “Because of you I am able to provide for my family. God bless you.”

Even medical professionals were eager to meet me. One of which was Naomi Dilodilo, MD. She sent me an e-mail with the greeting “Biyaya” and said, “This means blessing and you are one! You have been a channel of blessings to millions of Filipinos, one third of the population of which is directly dependent on the coconuts for their livelihood…Thank you very much for all your efforts and contribution to the coconut oil information campaign. I, as a Filipino, appreciate very much your endeavors. It means a lot to us. ‘Salamat’ is thank you in our language and comes deep from my heart!” Wow, what a response. I was humbled. Little did I know the impact my book would have.

In the Philippines alone at least 20 million people depend on coconut for their livelihoods. There are millions more in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and other countries. In Fiji, Samoa, and other islands coconut production accounts to up to 75% of their income. As many as 100 million people worldwide are dependent on coconut as their major source of income. There is now an opportunity for these people to find employment so that their children don’t need to roam the streets looking for food.

I was amazed at how a single book could influence the lives of so many people. This was the answer I was seeking in order to help save the children from a life of poverty, sickness, and malnutrition. By stimulating the demand for coconut products these people are able to work and make an honest living. They aren’t receiving a handout but an opportunity to work and provide for themselves.

Workers in a coconut processing facility.

Workers in a coconut processing facility.

Save The Children

Out of this experience came the Save the Children Campaign. The purpose of this program is to help save children and their families from a life of poverty and starvation. The Save the Children Campaign is not a charity. We don’t sell products or solicit donations. Our approach is to educate. As people learn about the health benefits of coconut products they will begin to use them. When you purchase coconut products you provide a means by which economically disadvantage parents can make a living so that they can feed, cloth, and educate their children. While you are helping others in this manner, you are also improving your own health. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

The Save the Children Campaign has four major goals or objectives.

  1. Help people achieve better health through the use of coconut products. You, me, and everyone else who uses coconut products can benefit from using this miracle food.

  2. Provide a means for employment and economic development, especially in areas where coconuts are an abundant natural resource. Parents are able to earn a living that allows them to provide for the needs of their children. In many Third World countries coconut palms are an abundant renewable natural resource waiting to be put to use.

  3. Reduce the occurrence of malnutrition and birth defects in children. Children who have gone hungry since birth and are malnourished can be fed. Pregnant women can get better nutrition so their babies aren’t born with birth defects. Nursing mothers are able to provide their babies breast milk with a higher level of nutrition so their children can grow and develop properly.

  4. Provide an affordable alternative to costly drugs, especially in economically disadvantaged areas. For many people, especially in Third World countries, drugs are out of reach because of their cost. Coconut oil and other coconut products, which cost far less, can often be used in place of some drugs. Coconut is considered a functional food, meaning it offers health benefits beyond it nutritional content. Since it is a food it does not have adverse side effects, as do many drugs.

Dr. Dilodilo with some of the children in the Philippines who are benefiting from the Save the Children Campaign.

Dr. Dilodilo with some of the children in the Philippines who are benefiting from the Save the Children Campaign.

How can you help save the children and accomplish the objectives listed above? It’s easy. All you need to do is tell people about the benefits of using coconut products. It’s that simple. It doesn’t take much effort. Guide them to the Coconut Research Center website (www.coconutresearchcenter.org) and encourage them to read the book The Coconut Oil Miracle. Education is the key. As people learn about the health benefits of coconuts they will start using them. They benefit themselves as well as the coconut growers and their families.

I would like to emphasize, that by far the best tool you can use to help people understand the importance of using coconut is The Coconut Oil Miracle. Even the most skeptical will come around after reading this book. You don’t need to argue or debate, just give them a copy of this book and let them discover it for themselves. The book speaks for itself. I encourage you to share this book with your family, friends, and neighbors. Give them copies and encourage them to give copies to others. When you do this you are giving them the gift of health—the most precious gift you could ever give. Remember, each book you give not only helps those who receive it but also helps save the children. (Multi-copy discounts are available for the Save the Children Campaign from Piccadilly Books, Ltd. Contact orders@piccadillybooks.com and ask for information on quantity discounts for participating in the Save the Children Information Campaign.)

It has been said that if you give a person a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish you feed him and his family for a lifetime. That is our goal with the Save the Children Campaign. When you purchase coconut products you are helping these people help themselves. You are providing them the means by which they can make a living and feed and clothe their families. These families are not asking for a handout, but the opportunity to work and make an honest living. You can give them that opportunity.

Our message and the goal of the Save the Children Campaign is to bring awareness of the many health benefits of coconut to the world and in so doing increase the use of coconut products to better our own health as well as others and to provide the demand needed to sustain the coconut industry so that those people who are involved, the vast majority of which are laborers and small farmers, can provide for the needs of their families.

Help save a child, tell someone about The Coconut Oil Miracle.

Coconut Oil Miracle Front Cover by Bruce Fife

The Coconut Oil Miracle Fifth Edition

The book that started it all.

You Can Help

The Coconut Research Center was established to educate the medical profession and the general public about the health and nutritional aspects of coconut and palm products. The primary purpose of this website is to dispel the many myths surrounding coconut and palm products, to present a more accurate and scientific viewpoint, and to aid others in their research.

All funding for the Coconut Research Center comes from private donations. We have no corporate sponsors or any connection to any particular industry. We are not a business, nor do we sell coconut products; our entire focus is on education and public awareness. If you would like to help support our mission of education and help us maintain this website, please feel free to make a donation.

Coconut Educational Resources

Originally The Coconut Oil Miracle 5th Edition was self-published as The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil. In order to reach more people with our message we have contracted with Avery Publishing Group/Penguin USA to publish and distribute the book worldwide. This way the book will find access to a greater number of people and be more readily available.

The health benefits of coconut oil and other coconut products are so numerous that I have written other books on the topic. These books can also help to save the children because they too provide education on the benefits of using coconut products. I encourage you to read them all.

Coconut Cures This book explains the health benefits of all coconut products—the oil as well as the meat, milk, and water. Provides many testimonials and explains exactly how to use these products to prevent and treat common health problems.

The Coconut Ketogenic Diet This book describes how to use coconut oil to boost energy, raise metabolism, improve thyroid function, and reduce weight.

The Coconut Miracle Cookbook This book contains nearly 450 coconut recipes using coconut oil, meat, milk, and cream. Recipes include soups, salads, beverages, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts.

Cooking with Coconut Flour—A Delicious Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Alternative to Wheat Coconut flour is a delicious, healthy alternative to wheat. It is high in fiber, low in digestible carbohydrate, and a good source of protein. It contains no gluten so it is ideal for those with celiac disease.

Affiliated Assistance Programs

Local Empowerment Assistance Project (LEAP) is a non-government development organization dedicated to assisting Indonesian village communities, through poverty relief and small industry implementation. To learn more go to www.leapin.org.